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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Why is it called Down Syndrome?

So why is it called "Down Syndrome" (or possibly "Down's Syndrome" depending on whether you live in the USA or the UK)?
Well, I am sure you know the answer, dear reader, but a lot of people do not.  They have a vague idea that it is something to do with the word "down" - a negative word - perhaps something to do with the person's appearance, or maybe his/her intelligence or disposition.

No, it is actually this man's fault - Dr Down.  He first spotted the characteristics of the syndrome, and so it was named after him.  By all accounts he was a nice man; he supported women's rights and racial equality, which was unusual for a Victorian gentleman. It is just his name I have a problem with.  Why couldn't he have been called Dr Up, and then my son would have a condition called "Ups Syndrome", which is far more positive.  It actually sounds to me like quite a cool thing to have.  More appropriate too.  I think new parents would be pleased to find out their child had Ups Syndrome, and it would make those first few days far less traumatic.  All the other kids in the neighbourhood would hear about the kid with Ups Syndrome and be jealous.

"Mummy, why can't I have Up's Syndrome like that kid next door?"